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Getting started in variable star analysis

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Getting started in variable star analysis

I am an astrophotographer but have never done a thing with variable stars.

I do have a very large collection of data (TBs) from my setup at the Sierra Remote Observatories. Some of it might be interesting to analyze for variable stars. But it's hard to know exactly where to start. Perhaps someone at AAVSO could provide some guidance.

What sparked my interest was a post on Astrobin ( on variable star analysis.

Thanks in advance for help.


I am with you

I too love Astrobin and it has been great helping me get started. I star align every night and could easily plug some of these stars into the process, but what exposure do they want, should I process the image at all, etc? I really would like to do something other than just take cool photos. Hopefully someone will respond! 

PVEA's picture
Getting started in variable star analysis

Hi Eric,

Surely you can use the time series you have collected during the astrophotography sessions to search for variable stars. To identify them you should become more familiar with the data mining possibilities. There are many options, some of which are:

AAVSO VSX data base:

At the coordinates you specified already known variable star exists:

name: ZALD 3
other designations: UCAC4 564-097543, 2MASS J20001173+2238119
coordinates: 20 00 11.73 +22 38 12.1
variable type: DSCT
period, d: 0.108925



spp's picture
Getting Started

For experienced astrophotographers I would recommend two AAVSO CHOICE on-line courses:  Photometry Using VPhot, and CCD Photometry part 2.  

VPhot is the AAVSO's superb software for photometric analysis of your calibrated images.

Unfortunately, you may have missed the window for getting into the class which starts Sept. 14.  It is only open to AAVSO members and there is now a waiting list to get into the 5 week on-line class.   If you have the time (probably 1 or 2 hours per day), and if you can get into the class, this would be a big jump start for your photometry education.

You can learn VPhot on your own with the users guide and help from the VPhot forum, but taking the class is the quickest way to become proficient.

The CCD Photometry 2 class will be given next in the fall of 2021. (The 2020 class was earlier this year.)  It is well suited to experienced astrophotographers.  The texbook  is here:

The CCD2 class starts at about Chapter 5.

The AAVSO also has volunteers who provide mentoring to new observers.  Go to the drop down menu "Getting Started" on the AAVSO home page.


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